The movie is riveting in the exact sense of the word: We feel nailed to the screen in the impossible task of working out what is going on-let alone why it matters.
David Thomson, The New Republic, 2013-06-20
A deliberate, cerebral, grim and utterly absorbing film that makes covert operations appear as unsexy as the Bourne films made them seem fast-paced and thrilling.
Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 2012-01-06
Ultimately, though, it is very much Oldman's film, thanks to a restrained tour de force performance. Smiley is weathered, worn and beaten down by life, but he's also a quiet, sure force of something that resembles good.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2012-01-06
"Tinker" radically -- superlatively -- condenses John Le Carre's classic novel, which could scarcely be bounded by seven hourlong episodes in the 1979 BBC adaptation.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2011-12-26
It's a well-crafted film that wears its old-fashionedness with pride.
Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2011-12-23
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" has a murkiness to it that perfectly fits a spy film; you need to pay attention, or the story will slip away into the shadows.
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, 2011-12-22
Just watching Gary Oldman and his trenchcoated brethren march down the damp, ill-lit streets of Cold War London is enough to make you shiver.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2011-12-22
These guys make proper English diction as compelling as a gunfight, and "Tinker Tailor" as satisfying as any shoot-'em-up using real bullets instead of words to get its point across.
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, 2011-12-21
This superb remake has the inevitable look of a period piece, a smoke-filled rendering of things past. However, thanks to Tomas Alfredson's direction, a taut screenplay, and a uniformly brilliant cast, the film also retains its contemporary relevance.
Rick Groen, Globe and Mail, 2011-12-16
A movie of chain smokers and whisperers, of grey skies and glum expressions, of rattling tea cups and rotary-dialed telephones.
Peter Howell, Toronto Star, 2011-12-16
It's a 1970s story told in 1970s style, an unrepentant un-reboot so old school that it feels subversively new.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2011-12-16
In its attention to detail and awareness of betrayals both political and human, "Tinker Tailor'' is a movie for grown-ups.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2011-12-15
Alfredsen made the excellent vampire thriller "Let the Right One In," and his knack for brackish, enveloping atmosphere is rare indeed.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2011-12-15
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" looks, sounds and feels exactly right.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 2011-12-15
The screenplay is a marvel of exposition, offering a parade of characters (and their code names), international incidents, and alliances and double-crosses without ever leaving viewers baffled as to who's doing what to whom, and why.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, 2011-12-13
It's a treat to be back in Le Carre's world, where amid the tangle of plots and counterplots there are moments of lucidity when you sit up and say, "I've got it now!"
David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture, 2011-12-12
The filmmakers don't try to jazz up the proceedings with a lot of then-and-now equivalencies. At the same time, it is implicit here that spy operations today are essentially the same, with only the names of the players and antagonists changed.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, 2011-12-09
Stakes more personal than political [keep] Alfredson's chilly approach from leaving viewers out in the cold entirely.
William Goss, Film.com, 2011-12-09
The cast is uniformly excellent, but as the ringleader of the Circus, Oldman owns the proceedings. In his limitless constraint - his commanding torpor - he is the equal of the magnificent Alec Guinness in the miniseries.
Kyle Smith, New York Post, 2011-12-09